08th Feb 2013
I get it. You are no longer king of the hill, and it rankles. But you aren't a political party, and it is unusual in your sector to throw mud at rivals. Doing that makes you look like a whiny 38 year old (counting from 1975 when you were founded).
You are endangered in all of your major markets - PC client/server, productivity software, mobile, search, email and game consoles. That is trending towards a vicious downward spiral for all other software you make for those platforms.
At one time, it looked like you had nailed the software market. The services business was yours to lose. When Google came along, it had none of the brand recognition and resources you did. Now that their engineering innovation has made them successful, you hate how your (famed) sales skills are failing. What next, hurl insults with a campaign named "Scroogle"? Oh wait, you're already doing that.
Your (free) email and other services surely aren't funded by love and fresh air. You monetize users of your service, as much as others do. If you cannot bring yourself to admit it, at least allow users to draw their own conclusions about "free" online services:
If you're not paying, you're the product being sold. (Image Credit: imgur.com)
That whole thing about the "Gmail Man" and allegations about online shop rankings on Google search results had barely died down before you did it again, claiming Gmail is bad for privacy. Sorry, but you're no saint when it comes to invading my privacy. Besides, your ToS (Terms of Service) does not rule out a change in approach to the matter. You have done the dance once before - of showing off your ToS as a good thing and then quietly changing it later.
About the TOS (Terms of Service) strategy, I say, well executed.
Step one: Spread paranoia in the wake of Google simplifying its Terms of Service and indemnifying itself against probable legal nuisance.
Step two: Observe how the world reacts, and follow right in Google's footsteps, quietly revising your own ToS.
Step three: World domination? Nah, didn't come to pass, not in that way.
I am not sure I can trust you. In Google's case, the ToS clearly states that my information is read, for sure, but only by machines.
Cast the first Scroogled: It's terrible when companies abuse privacy, isn't it Steve! (Image Credit: GeekCulture.com)
Between a company that "scroogles" me and another that "scroosofts" me in addition to "scrooging" me, I think the first choice isn't so bad after all.
Remember the balding old man who threw a chair across his room and vowed to "****ing kill Google"?